It's been called an "arms race" for NBA teams -- the effort to out-do each other in building the biggest and best practice facilities in the league. Like state-of-the-art arenas, the practice facilities --now most likely called "training centers"-- are seen as a needed amenity.
In a survey of nine new practice facilities Monday, Sports Business Journal finds the Nets' HSS Training Center typical of what teams are doing with their training centers -- build nearby (but part of) the teams' home arenas; offer amenities not just to the team but to the surrounding community, sponsors and even season ticket holders; and spend, spend, spend.
However, of the nine, only the Nets and Raptors have opened their doors with the others scheduled to greet players anywhere between this fall and fall of 2018. That means only the two already opened can be used to sell free agents this summer. And it's not just players who will find the facilities attractive. SBJ says they're becoming important in recruiting coaching and other staff. (As a member of the Spurs front office, Sean Marks got a preview of HSS early last season.)
"It’s a first-class addition to what we already do here in Brooklyn," Brett Yormark told SBJ. "It’s one train stop from Barclays Center and 15 to 20 minutes by car. Most importantly, it’s a great recruiting chip."
Of the nine, the HSS Training Center's $50 million price tag is fourth highest, behind the 76ers, Lakers and Wizards. Unlike the HSS Training Center, those three facilities also include space for the team's business staff. The Nets business staff is currently located in Bruce Ratner's MetroTech complex, not far from Barclays Center.
The Nets training center is typical of the trend in other ways. Like seven of the nine, HSS is located in a downtown area. Like eight of the nine, the training facility will not be part of the arena complex. Most have or will have medical or health partnerships and all have agreements for community service.
What about the view? SBJ doesn't do comparisons, but the Raptors facility has a tranquil view of Lake Ontario; the 76ers a view of Center City Philadelphia ... from Camden; and the Celtics one of the Massachusetts Turnpike. We'll still take Manhattan.